Improved elastic contact model accounting for asperity and bulk substrate deformation

Chang Dong Yeo, Raja R. Katta, Andreas A. Polycarpou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


An improved elastic contact model for a single asperity system is proposed accounting for both the effects of bulk substrate and asperity deformations. The asperity contact stiffness is based on the Hertzian solution for spherical contact, and the bulk substrate stiffness on the solution of Hertzian pressure on a circular region of the elastic half-space. Depending on the magnitude of the applied load, as well as the geometrical and physical properties of the asperity and bulk materials, the bulk substrate could have considerable contribution to the overall contact stiffness. The proposed single asperity model is generalized using two parameters based on physical and geometrical properties, and is also verified using finite element analysis. A parametric study for a practical range of geometric and physical parameters is performed using finite element analysis to determine the range of validity of the proposed model and also to compare it with the Hertz contact model. The single asperity model is extended to rough surfaces in contact and the contact stiffness from the proposed model and the simpler Greenwood-Williamson asperity model are compared to experimental measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-203
Number of pages13
JournalTribology Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Contact mechanics
  • Finite element analysis
  • Magnetic data storage
  • Surface roughness
  • Thin solid film


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